Podcasts are becoming a powerful branding, lead-generating, and sale-driving tool. With 39% of men and 36% of women listening to podcasts monthly, they offer an impressive marketing opportunity.
The choice of topic can make or break your podcast. It creates a first impression that either reels the listeners in or drives them away. The topic should appeal to the target audience while moving them down the marketing funnel.
Podcasts Have to Resonate
The target audience will only listen to the podcast if the topic resonates with them. Just like any good piece of content, podcasts are geared toward value. If you have valuable information to share, think about how it can appeal to the target audience.
Let's say a plumbing service, Plumber Inc., is looking to start a podcast to attract new clients. What should they focus on?
- Fixing leaks?
- Installing fixtures?
- Helping listeners choose the best plumbing service in the area?
Since the number of topics an experienced plumber can discuss is virtually infinite, the company needs to focus on the target audience's needs and their position in the marketing funnel.
Podcasts as a Marketing Funnel
The topic of your future podcast depends on the audience's position in the marketing funnel. A marketing funnel is the customer's journey from discovering a problem to making a purchase or using services.
- TOFU (Top of the Funnel) — becoming aware of the problem and defining it.
- MOFU (Middle of the Funnel) — researching different options that offer a solution to the problem.
- BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) — making the purchase decision
The majority of podcast listeners are TOFU. This content aims to draw in new people (generate leads) from the target audience and turn them into fans.
Brief mentions of products and services in the podcast can help move audience members from TOFU to MOFU and BOFU. Loyal fans, also known as Super Listeners, don't mind ads being a part of the podcast as long as they are short and entertaining.
Plumber Inc. provides an example of how this is done.
Plumber Inc. Podcast
This plumbing company focuses on people who are having plumbing issues but don't realize they need a plumber yet. That's why they should avoid such topics as:
- Why you should hire a plumber — reserved for MOFU
- Why you should hire Plumber Inc. — reserved for BOFU
A good topic for a podcast is DIY Home Maintenance. This will attract a wide audience of potential clients who are broadly interested in home maintenance. Because they are paying attention to caring for their home, they are looking for trusted information from experts. They also may experience plumbing issues in the future that they will need to hire a plumber to fix. These people are likely to research their problems online.
This podcast provides value to the listeners by offering solutions and relevant information for the target audience. The topic resonates with the target audience, which is likely to experience plumbing issues at some point. It carries educational value by digging deeper into the subject and revealing problems along the way.
Ads within the Podcast
To push the customer down the marketing funnel, the host takes time to explain that some problems can be too tough to handle on their own. So they may want to consider giving Plumber Inc. a call.
Since most podcasts dedicate themselves to providing value to the listener, a short ad isn't an annoyance factor. It comes across as a valuable addition to the given information. The ad can also be delivered in an entertaining, fun way that makes it seem part of the content.
What if the listener uses the company's tips to fix their plumbing issue and doesn't need a plumber anymore? Even if the current podcast doesn't push the client down the funnel, it does something almost as valuable — raise brand awareness.
Next time, these clients face a problem they can't fix, they are likely to contact Plumber Inc. instead of the company they don't know anything about. Meanwhile, such listeners are highly likely to recommend your podcast to others, essentially becoming your brand ambassadors.
Target Audience as a Guide
If you don't know which topic to start with, use your target audience as a guide. It could be helpful to focus on a buyer persona when thinking about your potential listeners' needs. Ask the following questions:
- Who are your listeners?
- What are their pain points?
- What do they search for online?
- What problem do they need to solve?
- What do they care about?
While using the target audience as a guide, don't forget about your knowledge and passion. A podcast host must be passionate about the topic. Otherwise, listeners may get bored quickly while you could fail to establish yourself as an industry expert.
The Bottom Line
When choosing the topic for your first podcast, you need to focus on the TOFU prospects. While you are offering educational value to the listeners, you can gently guide them down the marketing funnel and drive sales.